Why Is Nutrition Important?
I had to have the talk with my daughter recently. After a weekend of non-nutritious food offerings everywhere we looked not much was hardly en pointe. When she asked for yet another refined carb heavy snack we sat down. She blocked her ears while I spoke.
When I refer to the talk, I mean the one about the car fuel tank – rather than the other talk. It is simple and short. When the fuel tank of the car is empty, we can fill it with water and it will look full. The gauge in the car will show a full fuel tank, anything else put into the tank will cause it to overfill and spill out.
However, the car will not go. It won’t move. It will not work in the way it should. Then, it breaks.
Our bodies are the same just a little more complex. When we “don’t work” it is a little less obvious. We break but it takes longer or doesn’t appear directly related.
Why do we need nutrition?
We need nutrition for the same reason a car needs fuel – to function! I’m not a nutritional therapist. So, whilst I have taken courses with nutritional therapists to make sure I have a base knowledge when helping others with their goals it is important that you seek advice from a qualified nutritional therapist to understand your personal nutrition requirements. When you know what you need, I can help you do it in hypnotherapy sessions.
I do know that humans need carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. These are macronutrients which give your body the fuel it needs to do things. Humans also need, vitamins and minerals which are micronutrients and enable your body to produce enzymes, hormones and other things needed for normal growth and development. Deficiencies in micronutrients are sometimes obvious but very often the health conditions associated with micronutrient deficiencies are less clearly related such as low energy levels, mental clarity, and capacity.
Why is nutrition important?
It should be clear why nutrition is important; without it you will struggle to have enough energy to do the things you want to do. In severe situations you may struggle to just get through the day. Remember your body needs energy to sustain its internal workings too. It isn’t just about how fast you can run for the bus. Your body uses fats, minerals, and proteins to build and maintain your organs, tissues, teeth, and bones. With limited supply your body will struggle to maintain itself physically. When you give your body the nutrients it needs you give it the ability to maintain homeostasis, your bodily functions will balance. With limited nutrition your body moves out of balance and functions such as your temperature, metabolism, blood pressure, sweat glands and thyroid become unstable.
What about water?
Your body also needs water, the general recommendation is to drink around 2 litres of water per day. The best source plain water though other drinks and some foods do contribute. Your body contains between 50% and 70% water and you need it to survive. Water helps your body to get rid of waste, helps you to maintain a healthy temperature, lubricates and cushions joints and protects tissue. Dehydration occurs when you do not take in enough water. Dehydration is life threatening however in the early stages it will present as tiredness. However, a symptom of nutrition deficiency is sleep disturbance, so you might mistake your tiredness for a bad night sleep when the reality is poor nutrition causing disturbed sleep and tiredness.
Nutrition and Mood
You might not realise that your bad mood, anxiety, or depression is directly related to the nutrients take into your body. When you have a healthy gut microbiome synthesizes transmitters and vitamins essential to a positive mood. There is a correlation between an unhealthy microbiome and anxious / depressive moods. The microbiome also stimulates the immune system. Prebiotic fibre though not listed above is essential for a health microbiome. Example of prebiotic fibres are garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, and bananas.
In addition to a lack of nutrition, problems occur when we give our bodies damaging substances. Sugars, and vegetable oils which are present in many processed foods, may affect the gut. Leading to inflammation and therefore depression. Whilst this blog post concentrates on giving your body the nutrition it needs; it is also important to maintain an awareness of the damaging effects of some foods. Filling your car fuel tank with half fuel and half water won’t make it work!
If you want a healthy relationship with food you might enjoy this blog post Want to Have a Healthy Relationship with Food? Healthier living starts here (juliethollingsworth.com)
The Nutrition Source. 2021. The Microbiome. [online] Available at: <https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/microbiome/#diet-microbiota> [Accessed 16 September 2021].